FAIRFAX, Va. — Elaine (Lutes) Purcell passed away Sept. 17, 2010, at Fairfax Hospital in Fairfax, after a nine-month battle with a brain aneurysm surgery.
She was born Dec. 13, 1943, in Bozeman, Mont., and was preceded in death by her natural parents, Harold L. Lutes and Helen Pierce Lutes Purcell, and stepparents Bern E. and Willetta M. Purcell. Elaine is survived by her brother Jim (Lutes) Purcell (Patricia) of El Paso, Texas; cousin Diane Rogers (Ben) of Bozeman; stepsister Linnette White (Terry) of Westbrook, Texas; and stepbrother Douglas (Lupe) Lindsey of Silver City, N.M. She also leaves behind her loving nieces, Kimberly Ramey (Don) and family, Deborah Purcell, Elizabeth Purcell, Faith Smith (Justin) and family, and Judith Willis (Brad) and family.
Elaine and family moved to Laurel, Mont., in 1952, with Elaine graduating from Laurel High School in 1963. Following her graduation, she attended Eastern Montana College of Ed., and Montana State College until she joined the U.S. Navy in 1965. Elaine served seven years in the navy, reaching the rank of E-5. Upon leaving the navy, Elaine went to work with Lear Avia, Inc. in Reno, Nev., and also attended the University of Nevada-Reno from 1972 to 1975. In 1976, Elaine joined Texas Instruments in Austin, Texas, and transferred with them in 1977 to Washington, D.C. She left Texas Instruments in 1984 and joined TRW in 1984, which was acquired by Grumman Data Systems in 1989, and evolved into Northrop Grumman Data Systems in 1993. Elaine was with Northrop Grumman until her retirement in 2008. Along the way, Elaine completed her formal education by obtaining a BS degree in Data Processing Management from Strayer College of Washington, D.C. in June of 1988.
Her interests, both professional and personal, were wide and varied. Professionally, she was involved with IT systems design and development, mostly dealing with government contracts. Her last nine or ten years with Northrop Grumman she became a technical writer, where she wrote the training manuals for updated and new systems. The final years she was involved with a project for the Internal Revenue Service of developing their “scanning technology” so that forms can be scanned into the system instead of being manually entered. She was involved with the system development, wrote the training manuals, and traveled to the regional service centers to assist in the actual employee training. Her personal interests involved various and assorted crafts, woodworking, and “tinkering.” She also enjoyed the cultural arts, and was an ardent supporter of the University of Maryland women's basketball team, traveling with them on their European tour in 2008. Her greatest passion was the Heifer Association, where with donations, they buy and provide animals to women in destitute areas around the world.
Elaine had made the decision in December 2009, that she was going to sell her home in Maryland and move back to the Laurel/Billings area to live, and was in fact, starting to look at real estate in the area. She will be coming home, just not the way she had planned.
There will be a “celebration” of Elaine's life and her final interment with her parents in the Laurel cemetery at a later date, which will be announced, probably in the early spring of 2011.